The Atlantic Daily: Out of the Blue

What could come of a meeting between Trump and Kim, what welfare means for kids, losing a job from sexual harassment, and more

From Seoul, South Koreans watch a broadcast of National-Security Chief Chung Eui-yong's White House briefing on March 8, 2018. (Yonhap / Reuters)

What We’re Following

Surprising Summit: If President Trump follows through on the promise to meet with Kim Jong Un, which South Korea announced Thursday night, the meeting between a sitting U.S. president and North Korea’s leader will be unprecedented. But as former Defense Secretary Bill Perry can attest, plenty of history suggests that a denuclearization agreement will be hard to come by. One of the terms Kim might propose is a full withdrawal of American troops from the Korean peninsula, which would likely come at great cost to the U.S.—but Trump might be tempted to accept it.

White House Staff: Trump described his outgoing economic adviser, Gary Cohn, as a “globalist,” a word with a loaded history of anti-Semitic connotations. The president is rumored to be considering replacing National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster with the former UN ambassador John Bolton—yet Bolton’s hawkish ideology contradicts Trump’s promises to his base. And Natasha Bertrand reports that George Nader, a political operative connected with the Trump administration, was accused of importing materials that “depicted nude boys engaged in a variety of sexual acts” in 1985. The charges were dismissed, but the question remains: Why was Nader allowed into the White House?

Social Services: Although it’s a common stereotype that welfare in the form of cash assistance discourages people from working, a number of recent studies confirm not only that such programs don’t decrease recipients’ productivity, but also that they make a substantial difference in poor children’s futures. And as Republican leaders take steps to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, some blue states are moving to expand access to health care. Red states, however, are moving in the opposite direction—and the result could be a widening regional gap in health-insurance availability.


The Associated Press’s Natacha Pisarenko photographed these two young women as they marked International Women’s Day with a demonstration in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which condemned violence against women, on March 8, 2018. See more of the week’s best photos.

Who We’re Talking To

David Lazer, one of the authors of a Science essay about fake news, discusses the many untruths on the internet: “I think there’s a whole menagerie of animals in the false-information zoo.”

Bernhard Wenger, a film director, describes what he found when he “went to the amusement park in search of a story”: a young woman who had learned to defy both gravity and her past from years of daily practice on a carousel. Watch the short documentary here.

Evening Read

Deborah Copaken describes “How to Lose Your Job From Sexual Harassment in 33 Easy Steps”:

3. Receive a Facebook message out of the blue from Ken Kurson, a Big Important Male Editor at the New York Observer, saying he loves your work and wants you to consider writing for him instead. Push him off for six months, as you’re under contract.

4. Wear a sundress to a lunch meeting with him six months later, because it’s June in New York City and it’s a scorcher. Immediately regret this sartorial choice the minute the Big Important Male Editor says something like, Wow, it’s so weird—here we are talking about your story about your breast cancer while I’m staring at your breasts.

Keep reading, as Copaken tells her story.

What Do You Know … About Culture?

Although last weekend’s Academy Awards went mostly as predicted, a few specific moments stood out—and have created anticipation as to what changes are coming to Hollywood. In general, presenters and winners turned the talk away from Donald Trump to focus on the problems plaguing the entertainment industry. One example: Frances McDormand’s call for “inclusion riders” in the acceptance speech for her Best Actress win, which served as an exclamation point to a ceremony that stressed acceptance and diversity (albeit in a slightly distanced way). Also, The Shape of Water’s big win illustrated the evolving definition of an “Oscar movie,” expanding the spectrum of films the Academy might recognize in the years to come.

Can you remember the other key facts from this week’s culture coverage? Test your knowledge below:

1. The film ____________ is the 20th movie from the South Korean director Hong Sang-soo.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. Joan as Police Woman is the stage name of ____________, a musician whose lyrics often celebrate the idea of optimism.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. The Graduate, which won one Oscar, for its director, Mike Nichols, was nominated for a total of ____________ Academy Awards.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Poem of the Week

From our January 1974 issue, “A Black Birch in Winter,” by Richard Wilbur:

Old trees are doomed to annual rebirth,
New wood, new life, new compass, greater girth,
And this is all their wisdom and their art—
To grow, stretch, crack, and not yet come apart.

Read more.

Reader Response

Julie Beck wrote about how the opacity of the skin-care industry leads consumers to do their own research through crowdsourcing tips and experimenting on their own face. On Facebook, Carla shares a tip of her own:

I am almost 50 years old, and I can’t even imagine how much money I have spent on every skin care product under the sun in my years. Even in adulthood I have been prone to acne. I’ve read many articles about European women simply washing their face with warm water and a washcloth. Earlier this year I finally decided to try it myself, and to my shock my skin has never looked better. I wash my face with soap maybe four times a month. Otherwise, I simply take a washcloth, run it under warm water, and wipe my face, repeating this several times. The only moisturizer I use is a royal jelly–based cream under my eyes only.

I truly believe the skin-care industry tricks us into thinking that we need all of these insane products that in my opinion cause the skin issues that we are given to believe they will alleviate.

Read more on the citizen science of skin care, and check out our series on the promise and failures of beauty routines.


Familiar strangeness, childlike wonder, quantum gravity, shallow thriller.

Time of Your Life

Happy birthday to Jane’s “twin from another mother,” Judy (twice the age of MTV); to Carolyn’s son Jeffrey (a year younger than the Super Bowl); to Ken’s wife (twice the age of the International Space Station); to Katie’s partner, David (a year younger than The Simpsons); and to Robert (born around the time of the Yalta Conference).

Tomorrow, happy birthday to Nancy’s husband, Len (a year younger than the Golden Gate Bridge); to Carol’s husband, Jeff, who shares a birthday with Julie (both are the same age as Arnold Schwarzenegger); to Becky (11 years older than the moon landing); to Suzanne’s son Mark (a year younger than Amazon); to Michael’s son Jarrett (twice the age of the iTunes Store); to Kak’s daughter Meri Mae (a year younger than Macintosh computers); to Janet’s boyfriend, Andy (a year younger than Game Boys); and to Margie’s son Gabriel, who at 1 is too young for the Timeline, but just the right age to say his first words.

Do you or a loved one have a birthday coming up? Sign up for a birthday shout-out, and explore the Timeline feature for yourself.

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